AS far as jobs go, Terry McDowell relishes his.
The chef has spent a year racking up 100,000 miles travelling to more than 50 cities across the world, as he set about finding the best burger.
During his 12 month of travels, Terry, originally from Seaham, tasted more than 300 burgers in places as far flung as Mexico, America, Barbados, China, Japan and Finland, all in the name of research.
The globe-trotting burger king expert sampled bizarre burgers, including wasabi burgers in Japan and macaroni-cheese topped burgers in San Francisco.
And he got his fingers burned when he tried a habanero-chilli infused burger in Mexico City, when the potent spices had his eyes watering with every bite.
Terry, 40, who moved to Roker, said: “I’m just a lad from Sunderland and would never have thought I’d be doing this when I was younger.
“I’ll often think ‘wow, I can’t believe what I’m doing with my job’ when I’m sitting on the Great Wall of China or cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, with the mist rising around me.
“It just goes to show if you put hard work and effort into doing what you want then you can reap the rewards.”
Terry’s favourites included a $95 burger that included wine jus, foie gras and black truffle at Macy’s in San Francisco, and the Mexican chilli burger.
His worst was a tandoori burger with onion bhaji and mango chutney.
Now after travelling the world, Terry, now a head chef at TGI Friday’s, has created nine top burgers to tantalise customers’ tastebuds with the perfect fusion of flavours.
He said: “This has been almost two years in the making, because when I got back we spent about a year putting everything together to create the perfect tastes.
“There’s a lot of elements to a good burger. There’s not just the patty, there’s the bun, the relish, the substance, the flavour.
“We’ve put a lot of effort into creating a selection of perfect burgers to suit everyone and I think we’ve cracked it.”
Many of the international creations Terry tried have made it onto TGI Friday’s menu, including the French Canadian with maple syrup and brie and the Texan Wild Boar burger, which is made from wild boars from Texas.
l Comment – Page 30